A Single Man’s Defense of Valentine’s Day

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I had nothing new to say about Valentine’s Day for 2011, so I stickied 2010’s post to the top for the day. Make it a special one for you and your loved one(s)! ]

Yes, the intent of this post is to defend Valentine’s Day, but in the interest of pathos, allow me to share all the many reasons I have to not like it.

I am single. I do not have love. I do not have someone to share V-Day with. It is a reminder of the fact I am alone, and at times, lonely.

I am gay. Even if I can appreciate the huge visibility of romance, I still rarely see my kind of romance represented.

I’m actually relationship-oriented. If the dating pool weren’t narrow enough being gay, being a gay man who values love, romance, and commitment makes it even smaller.

I despise capitalism. It’s too easy to see February 14 as an exploitative holiday for the economic benefit of florists, chocolatiers, candlemakers, fancy restaurants, and of course, greeting cards.

I’m an atheist. If all of the above weren’t enough, I have to be reminded of a holiday that has a name derived from a saint that nobody even knows anything about. Not only am I single, but religious privilege continues to dominate my life!

Is that enough pathos for you all? Don’t worry, “Singles Appreciation Day” folks, I’m SAD with you.

Still, I’d like to offer a defense for Valentine’s Day.

Two words: love and hope.

Love is an amazing sensation. Even though it hasn’t panned out for me, I can at least say that I’ve experienced love. Love can be wonderful and love can be dangerous. For all its pros and cons, it sort of represents a pinnacle of the human experience. It is arguably the most powerful emotion we can experience. Wouldn’t we be doing our existence a disservice to not recognize the influence of this impactful human experience?

It’s true, the day kind of divides us. There are those of us who have love and love having love and those of us who do not have love and resent not having love. If you think about it though, that’s not really a divide. It means we all respect love; we all aspire to it.

So even if we don’t have a romantic, sexual love to celebrate, Valentine’s Day can be a day to celebrate love itself. We can celebrate the family we love, the friends we love, past love, and future love.

And that brings me to hope! Hope is one of the most influential self-motivators. We all supported Obama when he campaigned because he truly inspired hope, and we’ve criticized him since his election because he hasn’t followed through and our hope has diminished. Hope is the mere idea that things can be better. Though faith and spiritual belief often try to hijack it, hope is an emotion and an attitude.

So on Valentine’s Day, hope is an important thing to keep in mind. For those of us with a Valentine to call our own, we have the hope of our future with that partner. We rekindle that flame of love and look forward to it lasting well into the future.

For those of us on the SAD side of February 14, we have to keep our heads up. It’s too easy to say, “I give up on love.” But who hasn’t said that at some point in their lives? It’s impossible to say today whether we will know “true love” or not, but we should let Valentine’s Day inspire us and give us hope. Look at all the people who have found it and can find such happiness in celebrating it! Yes, we might not have it, but there’s nothing to be gained by being petty about it.

We should all be hopeful about love in our lives. We should celebrate being human and knowing that we are even capable of such a thing. We can’t make it happen, and we can’t guarantee that it will, but it should give us something to look forward to, something to live for.

Fellow SADders, don’t let the day get you down! Don’t be jealous or bitter of the love you don’t yet know. Just be happy for those who have Valentines and look forward to the day you too will have someone to share your love with. Feel free to criticize certain aspects of the holiday, but don’t trash it entirely. Someday you’ll appreciate it.

Last year I shared a clip from out musician (and friend of the blog) Tom Goss. This year I’ll showcase another wonderful out artist, Matt Alber. His song and video for “End of the World” are nothing short of lovely. Happy Valentine’s Day from ZackFord Blogs!

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